About a week ago, I was getting ready to take my son to school, and I headed down a half flight of stairs without a second thought. Moments later, I was flat on the floor below and in a fair amount of pain. In hindsight I realized I had missed the last step of the staircase and completely wiped out. A visit to the emergency room verified I had broken my right fibula.
Do you remember that show “myth busters”? They would take a common belief that we hold and dispel it with the actual truth. Well last Monday, as Dave and I hosted a dessert gathering for the most recent new members of our church, I had a few myths busted.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard has an essay on worship that should have won an award somewhere along the way. In my mind it’s so important that I have my students read it in the Intro to Worship course every spring. The essay is titled “An Expedition to the Pole…”
My friend started coming to church and sitting on the back row. It was a rough patch in his life. He liked the music, the silence, the encouraging words from the preacher. But he never spoke to anyone, slipping out before the final hymn.
The utility crews were peering into this hole the other day as I was walking through our parking lot. I asked if I could look, too, and they graciously agreed. I casually mentioned that it reminded me of the holes we dug for the foundation of a community center on our most recent mission in Nicaragua.
Install. The goal of the day was installation. Men were coming to install a new dishwasher in the morning, a new washing machine in the afternoon. Maybe the garage door installer would also show up to give us a bid. When the green and white truck pulled out of the driveway before noon, we were smiling and enjoying hearing the quiet hum of the new dishwasher. Then I turned on the kitchen faucet and no water came out. Something in the installation had gone terribly wrong.
I am intrigued by the phrase “spiritual millionaire.” The phrase jumped off the page at me as I was re-reading the autobiography of one of the great spiritual leaders of the 20th century, Thomas Merton, called The Seven Story Mountain.
Sometimes in the midst of a semester teaching students about preaching, I chase a rabbit or two. Ok, maybe three. One of those hares is the educational ministry of our churches.
How is a Christian to respond to shouts of white supremacy and anti-semitic slogans? And how can we hold fast to our conviction to “love neighbor as self” without escalating the conflict?
I vividly recall the first time I saw something called a “Macintosh,” a product of an unknown start-up Apple Computer. This little ivory-colored box was in a friend’s basement office and was only connected to the electrical outlet. As we huddled around its tiny black and white screen, it came to life with a little smiley face. Something in my very being sensed that we were peering into a window on the future. We were.
I am writing to you from the monastery in Atchison where 125 Benedictine nuns are eagerly awaiting 600 guests who are coming to watch the full solar eclipse. An astronomer from the Vatican will be here to speak and they are serving hot dogs on the lawn. One nun giggled as she pictured people stopping on the highway to see the moment that hasn’t happened for 99 years and will not happen here again in our lifetimes.
Pshew. Deep breath. Seriously!? Are we already at the end of summer!? I feel like I’m saying the same thing each year—because I am! The idea of summer that I’ve created in my head is never quite like the actuality of the summer that happens.